OAKLAND – Giants center fielder and inside-the-park author Angel Pagan is still dealing with a sore hamstring and isn’t in the lineup for Monday’s Bay Bridge series opener.
But Giants manager Bruce Bochy remained hopeful that Pagan could return to the lineup on Tuesday, when left-hander Mike Kickham is scheduled to make his major league debut.
Pagan is available off the bench to pinch hit, but would require a pinch runner if he reaches base. That might be one ominous indication that he'll need more time.
“Meanwhile, it’s nice to have the luxury of a couple other guys who have led off,” said Bochy, referring to Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres.
Blanco is atop the lineup even though he has the “crud,” which is Bochy’s familiar term for respiratory illness. Pablo Sandoval was “flattened pretty good” by the same ailment last week. Bochy said he felt bad because he picked it up first.
“I’m Typhoid Mary,” the manager said.
In other pregame news, right-hander Santiago Casilla’s knee surgery hasn’t been scheduled yet, but it could take place as soon as Tuesday. Casilla told Manolo Hernandez-Douen of the Spanish-language blog Beisbol Por Gotas that he expected to be out until the All-Star break – longer than the four-week prognosis that had been provided to Bochy last week.
Casilla’s cyst is just below the knee and has not been biopsied, but head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said doctors have given no indication that they are concerned about any kind of malignancy.
While Casilla is out, Bochy confirmed that Jeremy Affeldt could be used in an expanded setup role, potentially asked to get more than three outs at times. In terms of a right-handed setup presence in the seventh inning or later, Bochy said Chad Gaudin and Jean Machi were his top options.
Bochy loves Machi’s ability to hit 95 mph, his splitter and slider, and even his athleticism, ability to hold and/or pick off runners, etc. He spent 11 years in the minor leagues before making his big league debut last year.
“He doesn’t have a lot of major league experience, but he has a lot of baseball experience,” Bochy said. “He’s been waiting for this opportunity and he’s taken advantage of it.”
As for Kickham, he’s flying to the Bay Area on Monday and will be activated prior to Tuesday’s game. The Giants don’t have to designate a player off the 40-man roster to make room for Kickham. That’s because they could transfer either left-hander Eric Surkamp or infielder Tony Abreu from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
Surkamp had Tommy John surgery last year and hopes to return by the end of next month or the beginning of July.